Glaucoma Surgery: Pre-operative Instructions and Information

Your doctor has recommended glaucoma and/or cataract surgery. You will be contacted by our surgical coordinator to schedule your surgery date and postoperative appointments. You will receive more detailed information about your surgery at that time.

The preoperative appointment

The preoperative appointment will involve measurements of your eyes if you are undergoing cataract surgery; this typically is not required for glaucoma surgery. We will review your general health and medications, and perform a brief physical examination. Be sure to have a list of all of your allergies and medications ready for this visit and have access to your known medical diagnoses and treating physicians. In extreme circumstances – such as an emergent surgery – this will be coordinated on the day of surgery.

The night before surgery

A nurse from the surgical center will call you the day before surgery to provide reminders about the surgery and discuss the specific time you need to arrive the following morning. Unless otherwise instructed, you should NOT eat or drink anything after midnight on the day prior to your surgery. Depending on your specific medications, the nurse may request you take some of your medication the night before or the morning of surgery with a sip of clear water.

The day of surgery

Unless otherwise instructed, you should NOT eat or drink anything after midnight on the day prior to your surgery. You must have a responsible adult with you on the day during surgery and to drive you home and possibly to bring you to your first postoperative appointment. Wear loose fitting clothes as you will need to undress and change into a surgical gown. Do not wear jewelry or make-up.

When arriving at the surgery center, you will be escorted to the operative room waiting area. After checking in, you can sit in the waiting area until you are called into the preoperative room where a nurse will help you change and prepare for surgery. The staff will review your information and start an intravenous line (IV) and start any necessary eyedrops for surgery. Your surgeon or their assistant will stop by to answer any questions you may have prior to being escorted to the operating room.

Once in the operating room holding area, you will meet the anesthesia provider and the surgical nurse and again have the opportunity to ask any final questions of your surgeon. The anesthesia provider will likely start some gentle IV sedation before transporting you into the operating room for the surgery. Most patients will have limited memory of the remainder of the surgical visit as an expected effect from the anesthesia. The duration may be 30-60 minutes but is patient-dependent.

After the surgery is complete, you will be escorted to the recovery room to allow the remainder of anesthesia to wear off. You will also have the opportunity to eat a small snack and drink coffee or other beverages. The recovery room nurse will review any specific instructions and medications prior to discharging you back home with your escort. These instructions will be provided in printed form, and further ones will be provided and reviewed at your postoperative appointment the next day. You will also be provided emergency contact information should you encounter any problems or questions that evening or at any point following surgery.

After surgery

You will need to follow up with your surgeon for an appointment on the day of surgery or the day after surgery. Your provider will provide specific instructions about your medications and things you should and should not do following surgery. In general, you should plan on taking it easy for at least one week following surgery. There will also be several subsequent postoperative appointments that are necessary. The timing of these appointments is dependent upon the type of surgery and your doctor.

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